Frémont, John Charles

Life Span
Full name
John Charles Frémont
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Death Date Certainty
Sectional choice
Slave State
Charles Frémon (father), Anne Beverly Whiting (mother), Jesse Benton (wife),  Thomas Hart Benton (father-in-law)
Other Education
Charleston College, SC
Other Occupation
Relation to Slavery
White non-slaveholder
Political Parties
Van Buren Administration (1837-41)
US Senate
US military (Pre-Civil War)
Union Army

John Charles Fremont (Congressional Biographical Directory)

FRÉMONT, John Charles,  (son-in-law of Thomas Hart Benton), a Senator from California; born in Savannah, Ga., January 21, 1813; pursued classical studies and attended Charleston College 1828-1830; instructor in mathematics in the United States Navy 1833-1835; civil engineer assistant 1838-1839, exploring the territory between the Missouri River and the northern boundary of the United States; appointed second lieutenant of Topographical Engineers of the United States Army 1838; commenced in 1842 explorations and surveys for an overland route from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean; major of a battalion of California Volunteers in 1846; appointed lieutenant colonel of United States Mounted Rifles in 1846 and ordered to act as Governor of California by Commodore Stockton; General Kearny, United States Army, revoked this order and placed him under arrest for mutiny; tried by court martial, found guilty, and pardoned by President James Polk, but resigned; settled in California on the Mariposa grant; commissioner to run the boundary line between United States and Mexico in 1849; upon the admission of California as a State into the Union was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from September 10, 1850, to March 3, 1851; unsuccessful as the first Republican candidate for president of the United States in 1856; appointed major general in the United States Army by President Abraham Lincoln in May 1861 and placed in command of the western military district; removed in December 1861; appointed to command the mountain department in February 1862 and resigned in June 1864; again nominated for president in 1864; Governor of Arizona Territory 1878-1881; appointed a major general in the United States Army on the retired list 1890; died in New York City on July 13, 1890; interment in Trinity Church Cemetery; reinterment in Rockland Cemetery, Nyack, N.Y., March 17, 1891.
“Fremont, John Charles,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,

John Charles Frémont, Mexican War (American National Biography)

When confirmed reports of war with Mexico reached the Pacific, the U.S. Navy seized California ports. Commodore Robert F. Stockton named Frémont commander of the California Battalion, which helped to occupy the province. In the winter of 1846-1847, during a revolt centered in Los Angeles, Frémont became entangled in a quarrel between Stockton and late-arriving General Stephen Watts Kearny of the army, both of whom claimed supreme authority in California. When Frémont, an army officer, rashly sided with Stockton, who had named him governor, Kearny marched him east in disgrace to face a court-martial. Despite widespread public support and Benton's personal defense of him during the long, rancorous trial, Frémont was found guilty and dismissed from the army. Although President Polk reinstated him for "meritorious and valuable services," Frémont bitterly resigned.
Pamela Herr, "Frémont, John Charles," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

John Charles Frémont, Election of 1856 (American National Biography)

Frémont reentered politics in 1856. With crucial early support from Nathaniel Banks and Francis Blair, Sr. (1791-1876), he became the first presidential candidate of the newly formed Republican party on a platform opposing the extension of slavery. Chosen more for his heroic image than his political skills, he nonetheless inspired great enthusiasm in the North, while in the South he was branded a "Frenchman's bastard" and, incorrectly, a secret Roman Catholic. Although Frémont gained the majority of northern votes, he was defeated nationwide by the Democratic candidate, James Buchanan (1.8 to 1.34 million, with an electoral vote of 174 to 114). Despite the loss, his candidacy established the Republican party's dominance in the North and set the stage for Abraham Lincoln's victory in 1860.
Pamela Herr, "Frémont, John Charles," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Date Title
Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull, June 7, 1856
New York Herald, "Our Boston Correspondance," July 26, 1856
Abraham Lincoln, Form Letter to Fillmore men, September 8, 1856
Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “N. C. University,” October 13, 1856
New York Times, “The Slave Troubles,” December 30, 1856
Washington (DC) National Era, "Black Republicanism in Missouri," January 1, 1857
New York Times, “Advertising Patronage and the ‘Irish’ Weekly Newspapers,” April 17, 1857
New York Times, “Where is the South?,” July 11, 1857
Washington (DC) National Era, "The Union," October 15, 1857
Washington (DC) National Era, “Collapse of Abolitionists,” October 22, 1857
Washington (DC) National Era, “Virginia and the South,” October 22, 1857
New York Herald, "Political Agitation in this Metropolis," Febraury 26, 1858
New York Times, "Presidential Candidates," July 14, 1858
Thomas J. Pickett to Abraham Lincoln, August 3, 1858
New York Herald, “The Illinois Campaign,” August 13, 1858
New York Herald, “The Illinois Campaign,” August 22, 1858
Lowell (MA) Journal and Courier, "The Senatorial Canvass in Illinois," September 22, 1858
New York Herald, “The Present Congress and the Next President,” January 17, 1859
New York Times, “The Slavery Question,” July 29, 1859
Memphis (TN) Appeal, “Fremont’s Position,” October 9, 1859
Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "Dissolution of the Union," October 25, 1859
Henry Fitzhugh to Robert Hunter, March 26, 1860
Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune,“The Fillmore Men,” May 25, 1860
Chillicothe (OH) Scioto Gazette, “Can Locofocos Explain It?,” June 5, 1860
Richard W. Thompson to Abraham Lincoln, June 12, 1860
John L. Scripps to Abraham Lincoln, July 11, 1860
Ripley (OH) Bee, "The Disunion Slave Code Candidate," October 4, 1860
Charles Billinghurst to Abraham Lincoln, November 14, 1860
Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Secession Organs in the North,” August 20, 1861
Timothy Davis to William H. Seward, September 16, 1861
Chicago (IL) Tribune, “How They Do It,” September 21, 1861
Abraham Lincoln to Orville Hickman Browning, September 22, 1861
Horace Greeley to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, March 24, 1862, New York City
New York National Anti-Slavery Standard, "New Publications," July 19, 1862
New York National Anti-Slavery Standard, "Speech of Rev. M.D. Conway," August 9, 1862
Abraham Lincoln to Isaac Newton Arnold, May 26, 1863
Abraham Lincoln to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, 1864
Chicago Style Entry Link
Facts for the People, No. 1: The Conspiracy of Fillmore Leaders to Elect Buchanan, by Inducing Honest Men to Throw Away Upon Mr. Fillmore Votes Which Would Otherwise Be Cast Against Slavery Extension and for John C. Fremont. New York: H. F. Snowden, 1856. view record
Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864. Minneapolis: Charles W. Johnson, 1893. view record
Chaffin, Tom. Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire. New York: Hill and Wang, 2002. view record
Goodwin, Cardinal Leonidas. John Charles Frémont, an Explanation of His Career. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1930. view record
Hawgood, John A. “John C. Frémont and the Bear Flag Revolution: A Reappraisal.” Southern California Quarterly 44 (June 1962): 67-96. view record
Levin, Lewis C. The Union Safe!: The Contest Between Fillmore and Buchanan!: Fremont Crushed!. New York, 1856. view record
Roberts, David. A Newer World: Kit Carson, John C. Fremont, and the Claiming of the American West. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. view record
Stenberg, Richard R. "Polk and Fremont, 1845-1846." Pacific Historical Review 7, no. 3 (1938): 211-227. view record
Tinelli, L. W. Fremont, Buchanan and Fillmore; or, The Parties Called to Order. New York: Livermore & Rudd, 1856. view record
Volpe, Vernon L. “The Frémonts and Emancipation in Missouri.” Historian 56 (Winter 1994): 339-354. view record
How to Cite This Page: "Frémont, John Charles," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,